Officials from the Boilermaker Road Race awarded & placed commemorative bricks last Tuesday evening to the 2024 winners of the Les Diven Media Award and the Peter J. DeStefano Volunteers of the Year as part of the annual brick-laying ceremony at Boilermaker Square at Butler Park.

Brad Vivacqua, a former Spectrum reporter of over 19 years was named the winner of the Diven Award for his many years of race coverage and passion for running. His stories covered all aspects of the Boilermaker Road Race from the Expo to the Kid’s Run to the Walk and the race itself, producing segments that highlighted local runners, covered press conferences, and he produced stories on the economic impact of the race.

The members of the Lake Effect Running Club, who nominated Brad, stated “Due to Brad’s outstanding race coverage over the years, his passion for running and his efforts to promote the race to other runners in our club, we think he’d be a great choice for the 2024 Les Diven Media Award.”

The award is given annually to a media personality who has a unique connection not only to the community but to the Boilermaker Race. It is named for Les Diven, a long-time sports reporter for the Observer-Dispatch and the Daily Press. This award exemplifies his passion for the Boilermaker and overall coverage of the race.

It has been difficult to select just one volunteer to receive the Volunteer of the Year Award; the Boilermaker made the decision to honor both a male & female volunteer. Andy Reath and Phyllis Petrillo are the recipients of the 2024 DeStefano Awards for their years of dedication to the race through their work as coordinators.

Phyllis and her late husband, Ted, have been part of the Utica running community for many years. “As members of the Utica Roadrunners they were familiar faces at all running events. Phyllis’s volunteerism goes way back to the very beginning. Phyllis headed the Goody Bag committee at Riverside Mall when the bags were stuffed with over 14 items. Throughout the years Phyllis helped with many other committees whenever needed.” said Cindy Dardano, volunteer coordinator for the Boilermaker. After Ted’s passing Phyllis took over the Scholarship Awards named after him. She also currently heads the 15K Bib Pick-up Committee.

Andy Reath began his Boilermaker volunteer career in 1979 on his motorcycle where he guarded runners from oncoming traffic. “In the early days, Andy actually was assigned to pass out flyers to people on the streets inviting them to watch the race and cheer,” said Dardano. “As a member of the GE Ski Club he organized this group into a long standing water station at the Yorkville Fire House.” A few years ago Andy took over as head of the Varick Street Crew. This team of volunteers is vital to providing finisher’s with food, water, freeze pops, snack bags, and clean-up. Andy loves the Boilermaker and has no plans to retire.

The Volunteer of the Year award is named after Peter DeSefano. He volunteered for many years on the Boilermaker chute crew, setting up the chutes at the start of the race, managing the ropes, synchronizing the chutes with time cards, organizing the volunteers, and more. Peter passed away in 1988, but his spirit of true volunteerism continues with the Volunteer of the Year Award. His daughter Andrea attended to present the winners in attendance with their bricks.

Each of the award winners was presented with a brick which was then placed into the commemorative race course that sits across from the FX Matt Brewery in Butler Park. The annual ceremony is held for anyone who has purchased a brick in the previous year, allowing them to officially place their brick into its designated spot on the course. Over 45 bricks were installed in last weeks’ ceremony.

For more information about the Brick ceremony, or to purchase a brick, please visit